406 IDEAL HOME LIFE
Impurities in the Air
It has already been stated that the ordinary atmospheric air contains much that is unnecessary, much that is harmful to animal life. Some of the more common impurities should be well considered, for they may often be avoided or disposed of. Air which contains much watery vapor is both disagreeable and depressing in its effects upon vitality, especially when it is associated with elevated temperature. The artificial disturbance of such air with fans brings relief, and the general use of electric fans is one of the most useful applications of that beneficent force.
Probably the most common of all the impurities in the atmosphere is carbon dioxide, or carbonic acid gas as it is commonly called. This is a result of combustion, and its most common source in our houses is the exhalation from the lungs of those who occupy them. It is usually abundant in rooms in which large numbers of people are gathered, especially at night when the oxygen in the air is also consumed by the burning of lamps and illuminating gas. It produces drowsiness and inability to concentrate the mind, but this feeling is quickly recovered from when the gas is replaced by a sufficient supply of pure air.
The exhalations from the body and from the lungs of many individuals yield other gases which may be offensive, or even nauseating, to those who may be compelled to breathe the atmosphere which has been infected by them.
A far more deadly gas is the carbonic oxide, which we commonly know as coal gas, and which is the result of imperfect combustion. It is very irritating to the breathing apparatus, and is at once perceived when proceeding from a leaky stove or furnace, or one in which the fuel burns imperfectly.
Impurities in the air proceeding from decomposing animai and vegetable material of all kinds are not always directly dan gerous to life, though they are often very offensive and nauseating, especially when the air space in which they are diffused is a limited one. Exhalations from sewers, privy vaults, etc.,